criminal law cases (murder,manslaughter, defenses,non-fatals ect)

  • Created by: sophie
  • Created on: 06-06-11 10:43

Actus Reus key cases medical intervention and causation




Smith 1959

Soldier stabbed another soldier. V’s medical treatment very poor and affected chances of recovery.

D liable if the injuries he caused are still an operating and substantial cause.

Cheshire 1991

D shot V. V needed a tracheotomy. V died cause of complications from tracheotomy. His wounds were virtually healed.

Medical treatment would only break the chain in causation if it is so independent of D’s acts and in itself so potent in causing death

Jordan 1956

V was stabbed. When his wounds were almost healed he was given a large dose of a drug to which it was known he was allergic.

The chain of causation was broken in this case.

Malcherek 1981

D stabbed his wife. She was put on a life support machine tests showed she was brain dead, the machine was switched off.

Switching of life support machine does not break the chain in causation

Case chart on foresight of consequences




Moloney 1985

D shot stepfather in quick on the draw incident

Foresight of consequences is not intention, it is evidence of intention.

Hancock and Shankland 1986

Miner dropped blocks of concrete onto road, killing taxi driver

The greater the probability of a consequence, the more likely it is that a consequence was foreseen and that if the consequence was foreseen the greater the probability is that the consequence was also intended.

Nedrick 1986

Poured paraffin through letterbox causing fire to the house in which a child died

Jury not entitled to infer the necessary intention unless sure that serious death or serious bodily harm was a virtual certainty and D appreciated this.

Woollin 1998

Threw baby at pram causing his death

The direction in Nedrick should not use the word infer instead, the jury should be told that they are entitled to find intention

 Re A 2000

Doctors wanted to operate on conjoined twins but knew this would cause one to die.

Court thought that Woollin made it law that foresight of consequences is intention

Matthews and allyne 2003

Threw V into river where he drowned

Woollin meant that foresight of consequences is not intention. It is a rule of evidence. If a jury decides that the defendant foresaw the virtual certainty of death or serious injury then they are entitled to find intention but they do not have to do so.


Key facts chart for murder





The unlawful killing of a reasonable person in being. Under the queen’s peace, with malice aforethought express or implied.

Lord coke 17th century

Actus Reus

Must unlawfully kill under the queen’s peace.

Can be an act or omission.

A foetus is not considered a person for the purpose of mother.

A killing is not unlawful if it self-defence, defence of another or prevention of crime and the use of force is reasonable in the circumstances.



Gibbens and proctor


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